Ernst Middendorp’s two trips to Pretoria to watch Mamelodi Sundowns over the past week were not in vain.
Instead, the analysis by the Kaizer Chiefs mentor paid dividends at Loftus Stadium, where Chiefs beat Downs 2-0 over the weekend in their Absa Premiership clash.
Middendorp witnessed Sundowns beat AmaZulu 5-0 in the Telkom Knockout at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville and followed it up with another trip to the same venue, where Downs needed a last minute winner from Mauricio Affonso to overcome Highlands Park 1-0 in midweek.
From the stands at Loftus, it was clear that Middendorp had done his homework and the man was pleased with the outcome.
“We are very happy knowing definitely that that’s just only a little increment step – it’s nothing big, but just three points, which keeps us on top of the league at the moment. Good, we know that a lot of work has to be done,” Middendorp said after the match against Sundowns.
“For us, it’s three points and it has nothing about (a sweet victory), and happiness is the biggest enemy of your development, of your progress,” he insisted.
“If you start to be happy and running around with sweetness in your eyes, sorry then you are done.”
Middendorp added that it was critical that he studied Sundowns well, considering that the Brazilians are guided by the 2016 CAF Coach of the Year, Pitso Mosimane.
“It’s not a secret that we were playing against a very qualified team… we have the most decorated coach in Africa with Pitso Mosimane sitting here at Sundowns’ side,” Middendorp said.
“I think we should not forget this and we have to be very, very clear in terms of direction and certain ideas. Yes, you have to be well prepared (against Sundowns) for the rest of the game,” he added.
Chiefs will now begin with preparations for their Telkom Knockout quarterfinal clash against archrivals Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa